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Thread: Tips for moving up the neck needed

  1. #1
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    Default Tips for moving up the neck needed

    Hi everyone,

    I am fairly good at learning just about any tune that uses the 1st through 7th fret. Moving up the neck feels like reading Chinese to me. I really struggle. Looking for tips on getting over this hump. The only tune that I have successfully learned that gets me up the neck is Jerusalem Ridge, and it took me a good two months to learn that. There are many tunes that I would like to learn that require to more up the neck and it is just so slow going for me. Is this a common hurtle?

    Thank you, Doug

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    You may benefit from practicing scales and arpeggios up and down the neck. Once you do this, the notes in the upper range will become more familiar and shifting from low to high more comfortable.

    Example: Start a A major scale on the 2nd fret of the G string. Don't play open strings. Play the first 4 notes on the G string (fret 2, 4, 6, 7) then play the next four (including the octave) on the D string (fret 2, 4, 6, 7). Once you become familiar with that, shift up the neck when ending the last part of the scale (on the D string). So instead of playing fret 7 on the D with the 4th finger, shift and use the 1st finger. Then repeat the same pattern as before, just starting on the 7th fret. So, fret 7, 9, 11, 12 on the D string and fret 7, 9, 11, 12 on the A string.

    Once you're comfortable with this, you are moving through the 1st thru the 12th frets. Not a bad start! You can always play other scales as well (minor, etc.) once you become familiar.

    One last suggestion: Don't just fret the notes, think about what note in the scale you are playing. Try to find the note across multiple octaves. This will help internalize notes across the fretboard.

    Peace.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    Niles Hokkanen (MC member Mandocrucian) has a nice book called Bluegrass Up the Neck. He discusses how licks and melodies relate to chords.

    D.H.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    Take a simple fiddle tune in D that you play in open position and doesn't require moving up the neck. Move put your index finger on the A string, 5th fret and play from there. Take a simple fiddle tune in A that you play in open position. Put your index finger on the D string 7th fret and play from there. On either of these, you could run into issues if they go up or down more than two strings, which is why I said a simple fiddle tune. That will get you some familiarity with the fretboard and playing in closed position. The other skill is shifting up to get there, which I don't have a great suggestion for working on that. Playing chords up the neck will help. Plyaing some of those tunes that you want to work on will help. I think it is a common hurdle.

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    Not sure if you are talking about playing or getting up the neck...or maybe both.

    Try Angeline the Baker, Arkansas Traveler, Soldiers Joy up the neck. Put your index on the D note on the 5th fret on the A string and go for it...if you can do Jerusalem Ridge these tunes will be cake for you.

    As far as getting up the neck this is a nice video from Sierra Hull showing one way of doing so...

    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    Many exercises, one is to think of the seventh fret as the open position, just shifted down one string.

    Also learn fast accurate first finger slides, that’ll at least get you to the right position in time and without being distracted.
    -you can then use the slide time (a fraction of a second) to think about what you’re actually going to do when you arrive at the next position.
    Good luck.

  10. #7
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    I'm in need of the same help. Feels like staying is first position is getting stale.

    Good stuff here, folks! Thanks for all the tips!
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

  11. #8
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    If you play tunes in first position with open strings, they are not easily movable. Since you know those tunes, practice those tunes using your pinky, then change keys up the neck. You'll begin to relate to tunes as movable patterns. As said, learning scales and arpeggios in multiple octaves will identify the need to have a strategy to change positions, and always moving to start on the index finger is not always optimal. There's 4 positions possible, one with each finger, but some are harder than others.

    And yes, its a common hurdle, nobody's born with that knowledge.
    Play it like you mean it

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  12. #9

    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    The ffcp (four finger closed position) scales have been the most help for me in moving up the neck. They are explained at the links below. They are also a godsend for working in unfamiliar keys.

    http://jazzmando.com/ffcp_studies.shtml

    http://jazzmando.com/ffcp.shtml

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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    You may find it helps if you get in the habit of being able to play the notes corresponding to the open D A and E strings with your fourth finger when you find them in a tune you're playing in 1st position, as in many fiddle tunes. You may not want to perform the tunes doing that for various reasons, but if you can do it at home when you choose to, it will be useful for position playing and for some tunes where the 4th works better than an open string.

  15. #11
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    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    There are many approaches. As a beginner I was helped by the only instruction I had on the instrument: as a beginner, don’t use open strings. So, at an early stage I realized the importance of moveable shapes.

    After learning and devising stuff in some of the more common l keys in first position I turned to higher positions. The keys of C, D, G, and F share the property that (allowing open strings) you can cover their scales with just five frets. So, e.g., in third position (working from the fifth fret upwards) I could easily find the scale notes in F, G, C, and Bb. Some people talk about using the index finger “like a capo”, but I often found it expedient to reach back one fret for some of the notes, e.g. (in third pos.), f# in the key of G, instead of passing to the next lower course. The next step, of course, was to make the scale forms in different positions connect, and mix several approaches, such as boxes and chord forms, playing along the strings, etc. but you can’t do everything at once.

  16. #12

    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    The four finger closed position chords and scales might be the easiest and simplest approach.

  17. #13
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    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    Quote Originally Posted by steve in tampa View Post
    The four finger closed position chords and scales might be the easiest and simplest approach.
    Maybe, if that's where you begin. However, I'm puzzled by the diagrams on jazzmando.com covering only half the neck in the given position. My approach is easier to me because I worked it out on my own. And, regardless of your starting point it's just that -- in time all predetermined patterns break down, most obviously on introducing double stops in parallell thirds and sixths. E.g., the Eb major bridge to San Antionio Rose has me moving down all the way from the 12th fret to the 1st. Double stops may even be your gateway to full command of the fretboard *along the strings*, connecting the various positions. The more approaches you combine the more stuff you're likely to find.


    Slightly OT: in comparing the guitar to the mandolin Eschliman speaks of the third between the g and b strings as "awkward". It is not. Basically a guitar is tuned to
    an em7 (or A9sus4) chord, and there's nothing awkward about that chord form ! On the guitar the easiest way to unlock the fretboard is probably working from the low Db and F chord forms.

  18. #14
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    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    Killntime: At risk of tootin my own horn, I suggest this:

    http://www.bradleylaird.com/playthem...positions.html

    Learn what is contained therein and ye shall be free to go as far as you like into the stratosphere—which is near (the) Florida I hear.

    Good luck and send me a post card when you get famous.

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  20. #15
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for moving up the neck needed

    Step one: Pick a tune that you really love to work with.

    Step two: If you don't already know it, learn the melody in first position along with learning the chord changes.

    Step three: Go up the neck and learn where to pick the same melody in the same key. Experiment with various note positions within that melody, because the same note maybe can be found near you on adjacent strings, or even an occasional open string, although you are playing up the neck.

    Step four: Now stitch together both versions. Play the tune in first position then repeat it up the neck.

    Step five: Practice this tune that you love by playing in time the melody in both positions, and also the chord progression. Find more than one fingering/position to play the same chords as well.

    Step six: Experiment mixing up the two positions and even throw in chords or doublestops into your melody playing.

    How to Move from first position to up the neck (and vice versa):

    Sometimes, you'll just need a "leap of faith" but usually you can find a place in the tune where you can play one of the notes on an open string which gives you the opportunity to move up or down at that point ... and sometimes you can slide into the new position.

    Experiment! Be creative.
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